What Would You Change?

Carter Hall Asides, church, Culture, curiosity, general, Mormon, mormon, Mormons, obedience, religion 68 Comments

What if you were given free reign and could change or remove one requirement the church makes of its members — forever?  Today’s post is from guest blogger, Carter Hall.

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s leave out the core requirements of the Church and address which non-core or peripheral requirements you would tweak.  For example, when I posed this question to my wife (Hawkgrrrl), her first reaction was “You mean, like everyone gets one murder?”  Not killing people is probably pretty core.  [I think she was just verifying her understanding of the question, but you never know.  She is named after a mace-weilding superhero known for an aggressive and violent nature.  Maybe I should check under the bed for medieval weaponry.]

Of course, everyone’s definition of core will be different, but see what you can do.  Here are a few possible avenues, or come up with one of your own:

  • The Word of Wisdom. It would be hard for me to imagine anyone arguing for smoking or most drugs, but go there if you’d like.  More likely, I wondered if people might opt to tweak the WoW to allow for coffee or moderate alcohol intake.  Maybe the occasional glass of wine as a part of the fine dining experience?
  • Home Teaching/Visiting Teaching. Especially for the HTers out there, we could really free up some time in the last week of the month if we abandoned the visits.  Would this come too close to a core requirement (i.e. love thy neighbor)?
  • Tithing. Is 10% too high?  Would you like a lower figure?  Would you make it more like the tax system, using a sliding scale based on income?  A deduction for each child?  Any other deductions you would introduce?
  • Garments. Even in the Arizona heat, I don’t mind garments.  But I’m a guy, and some would point out that it’s not all that different from an undershirt and pair of boxers.  Garments used to go to the ankles, wrist, and neck.  Would you like to shrink them again (I mean officially, not washing in extra hot water)?  If you want to be really aggressive and think they are completely peripheral, would you do away with them altogether and switch to what we call secular underwear?
  • Church Attendance. Does the weekly attendance standard seem too high?  Or maybe you don’t mind the frequency, but would shorten the three-hour block.  When we travel, Hawkgrrrl has suggested “Drive-Thru Sacrament” to be used only by those on vacation (I’m sure that would never get abused).

Feel free to discuss any or all of these possibilities.  If you’d like, you can add a requirement, instead of subtracting.  Or you can say you love everything and there’s nothing you would change.

This is far from a scientific survey, and we certainly aren’t voting for any actual change, but try to narrow your final vote down to the one change you would make.

And please watch out for dangling chads.

Comments

comments

Comments 68

  1. Er, personally?

    The requirement to attend the boring meetings. I’m not talking about sacrament here–that’s usually worth some entertainment. I’m talking about the ones where they start trying to sell me on a program that some genius–usually at the local level, rather than the general level–has come up with. If I never had to sit through one of those meetings again, I’d be a happy man.

    Oh, and missionary sundays. Please. They are not good. If you have to be told to share the gospel, chances are you aren’t going to do so effectively (and if there are visitors in the crowd they are sure to be turned off). Abolish that ‘requirement’ and I’ll be very happy.

    What else? Nah. I’m actually quite happy to wear garments, not smoke, drink, and I don’t mind wearing whatever clothes happen to be the fashionable men’s wear to church. I’d wear a blue shirt more, but my wife always gives me funny looks. 🙁

    Er, so ONE CHANGE? Of the two, I’d say missionary Sunday annoys me FAR more.

  2. I would do away with the phone calls requesting you attend whatever alternate sunday school class they’re starting up. I’m usually in primary, but it seems like as soon as I get a calling where I can attend sunday school, I get recruited for a strengthening the marriage, or teacher improvement class.

    🙂

  3. I have often said that I would pay 11% in tithing if they would revoke the rule requiring my wife to wear garments. For guys, its no big deal. But I can think of a wide variety of other, slightly less modest, underthings for her that we would both find more appealing 😉

  4. Shawn – LOL! I have to agree on the one thing to eliminate and for roughly the same reason. I don’t mind wearing modest clothing (keeping dress standards is fine); it’s just disheartening when your wide-eyed five year old says, “Mom! Why are you wearing grandma panties??” It’s hard to feel like an actual woman under such conditions.

    Maybe there could be a tithing rebate program like on the Costco credit card – every year you get 1% back in “sin points” that you can spend in a variety of ways. 500 pts = bottle of wine, 300 pts = 1 day in secular underwear, etc. (totally kidding on that one)

  5. #4 – Hawk, that’s called penance for future, planned sins. The other option is to wear them throughout the year, then feel righteous by giving them up for Lent. 🙂

  6. (Trying again)

    I too would get rid off garments for women.

    Maybe wearing a necklace/bracelet combination with all the masonic things on them would be enough for our ‘sisters’ 🙂

    And let them ware all the miniskirts, hipsters and the rest, that they want to to church on Sundays. Let women be free in ‘mormondom’

  7. Great Post-Expect 100 comments from me along!

    Church Meetings

    Wouldn’t you feel better if the church was structured like this. We go to sacrament meeting for 3/4 of an hour in our levis and the rest of the time were out doing service for the other 2 hours as a ward. Wouldn’t God be happier with us instead of just learning concepts which are probably rarely applied.

    HT and VT on Skype

    I live here in the UK where were getting close to $10.00 bucks a gallon. My wife last night had a Stake young womens presidency meeting on Skype it lasted 2 hours. Normally that would have taken 4 hours as we are 45 minutes from the chapel.
    I think Home teaching could be done monthly on skype and quarterly face to face.
    (As I wrote this I just realized many of you just step out your door and your first visit is 2 doors away)My son is physically disabled and it is difficult to get him into the english homes- Skype would be great for us!

    Church Attendance

    3 hours is way too long!! I think if the church went to 2 hour retention would increase dramatically. Bring on the Small Units program at least to the wards under 60.

    Tithing

    This recession could be a tough one- some members could benefit from a reprieve on tithing. Instead of paying in and asking for it back- less red tape.

    Word of Wisdom

    Keep it an Tweak it- ie Hawgrrls previous post. I think all those who think they would only have the occasional glass of wine would end up having a bottle a night. At least thats what I have seen with those that say the are going to have a glass of red wine a night.

    Garments

    Tattoo’s “I’M LDS R U2” or Microchips instead 😉

  8. Change missionary work from a suit and tie preaching affair to in-the-trenches service missions. Young people would eat that up! We’re supposed to be building the kingdom of God on earth right? We’ll let’s start swinging some hammers, digging some wells and cleaning up some vacant lots. People might actually start tracking us down to find out what our church is all about if we had 60,000 or more people out there transforming the earth into heaven.

  9. That the guys in SLC that are actually in charge of making changes would actually read something like this and take our point of view into account. I get so tired of the lame and vague reference to some obscure doctrinal reason why we can’t change some aspect of church policy that 99% of the rank and file would support and love.

    Oh…. and the garments would be one of the first things on the list.

  10. I would 1) pay a ward music coordinator/choir director and have some serious, high quality music played and sung in church; 2) ditch the scouting program completely; 3) give women the priesthood; and 4) stop preaching the triumphant “only true church” slogan that justifies some LDS’ derision of other people’s faith and good works. I would also hope to find a way to get wards and stakes more involved in service activities in the community as a conscious, concerted, consistent effort (i.e. not just once a year for pioneer day or thanksgiving or something). And about the garments thing, I don’t mind ’em, but perhaps the whole “wear them day AND NIGHT” thing could be amended to “wear them during the day, and at night if you want to”.

  11. For the most part, I’m happy with how church works and feel things are there to help us. The main thing I’ve always thought though is how when Joseph Smith was around he preached outside a lot and they rarely met formally. I think it would be nice to have freedom to hold meetings outside if we wanted or have flexibility in that way. Also, in some wards they have so many planning meetings and Sundays are all tied up with that instead of being with family. That needs to change.

    The concepts of tithing, hometeaching, garments I feel are good and one can be flexible with hometeaching. I count hometeaching sometimes if I have a good conversation with them over the phone or sometimes I’ve sent them emails with a message. It’s all a matter of where our hearts are.

  12. A cup of coffee now and again would be nice. And garments — couldn’t they come in lovely color? And while we’re at it, let’s do away with the cap sleeves. Is that too much to ask?

  13. “What if you were given free reign and could change or remove one requirement the church makes of its members — forever?”

    Some of us have realized that we already do have free reign and can change the requirements that the church makes on us. We are ultimately accountable to God–not to the church.

    “That the guys in SLC that are actually in charge of making changes would actually read something like this and take our point of view into account. I get so tired of the lame and vague reference to some obscure doctrinal reason why we can’t change some aspect of church policy that 99% of the rank and file would support and love.”

    The reality is that you can change right now, independent of what the guys in SLC are doing. Maybe the church needs better leadership from the bottom.

  14. The temple ceremony. Remove all the Masonic elements and ritual clothing (dressed in white is the new standard) and shorten the endowment to 30 minutes.

    That’s all I ask.

  15. All of the absurd talk about flip flops and our teenage daughters and the requirement for mothers to organize their son’s eagle projects.

  16. “And about the garments thing, I don’t mind ‘em, but perhaps the whole ‘wear them day AND NIGHT’ thing could be amended to ‘wear them during the day, and at night if you want to’.”

    I think the “and night” was added to the recommend interview in the 1940s or 1950s. I defer to historians of recommend interview questions. I would add that the current recommend question does not use the phrase “entire night”.

    I would make fast Sunday quarterly.

  17. Three hour church is a long time to sit down. I get incredibly fidgety at church. Luckily, God knew this and called me to be a Gospel Doctrine teacher so the second hour I can stand up and pace back and forth.

    I also feel bad that long hair on men as a pronouncement of how Rock and Roll you are is not more socially accepted in the Church. Not really a “rule” though.

  18. Here I go:

    1. Abandon garments. They are ugly and uncomfortable. Tattoo the marks on the body instead.
    2. Quit teaching tithing as “fire insurance.”
    3. Shorten the meetings. The 3-hour block is endless and far too long and boring.
    4. Give the priesthood to women who want it.
    5. Abandon calling each other “sister” and “brother” and the guy missionaries “elder”.
    6. Stop sending kids out on F&T Sunday to collect donations from members’ homes. Yikes!
    7. Have HT and VT be completely optional– if you want to be part of the ‘network’, join up.
    8. The endless callings and time that’s taken away from our families– less time in meetings and church activities and more time to spend with our families.
    9. More focus on grace and less on works.
    10. Don’t have the missionaries, when asking someone to give a prayer, immediately look to the male in the home and ask him to select someone. It’s so patronizing– I’m not allowed to decide who should give a prayer?

  19. Doc,

    My suggestion is asking more of the members. It will take a lot of work to change the temple ceremony, and I guarantee you it will all be done by members 🙂 And I think the change would encourage members to attend the temple more, so in the end, members will be doing more work for their ancestors (that is, if the goal is to do temple work for everyone on this planet who has ever lived for whom we have records. there may be an unstated goal to the program, like keeping old folks off the street, I suppose). 😉

  20. What Doc said. There are things I would remove if it were my call to do so without revelation, but most of what I would change would deal with getting members to do more of what already is laid out for us but generally is ignored – like taking our role seriously as sharers of the Gospel and quit leaving it up to the missionaries who are supposed to be teachers.

  21. I find it humorous that when guys say garments work fine for men but something sexier should be implemented for women, that it seems to beg to the assumed subservience of women as sex objects to men — not really that much a change from the LDS status quo. The freedom to choose one’s undergarments to the style of delight for oneself and also to one’s spouse is extremely liberating when one has spent years in conformity to a community norm. LDS women don’t need to exchange garments for thongs; it would be liberating for men and women to wear what they want underneath and on the exterior and be completely welcome at worship and among the church community.

  22. #28 – I and my wife have complete freedom to wear whatever we want when we are in a situation to be seeing each other without the trappings of exterior clothing. I agree that what I am wearing underneath is nobody else’s business “at worship and among the church community”, but since I would want whatever it is to be covered by something else anyway, I just don’t agree that wearing a thong or briefs or boxers or a g-string as opposed to garments, for example, is liberating in any way whatsoever.

    Perhaps TMI, but our own available alternatives to garments in those situations where it’s just the two of us is quite extensive, so for once I am disagreeing strongly with my BFAM.

  23. JFQ (#28): I find that interesting as well, but many of the “change the garments” suggestions are coming from the women, not just men. My wife complains about the garment, not because she wants to dress any sexier than she currently does, but because for her (and most women, I gather) they are really uncomfortable and make wearing a bra really difficult. The sizing on the women’s garments is really strange (huge midsection, no accommodation for ladies with “fuller” topsides, weird neckline hems), much more difficult to get right than the men’s garment pattern. So I think women see the garment as making them look frumpy and feel uncomfortable due to size and shape issues. Far fewer want to change the pattern or get rid of them completely because they want to show more leg, cleavage, back, or arm. I support my wife’s opinions because I think she deserves to be comfortable in her clothing.

  24. #28: “I find it humorous that when guys say garments work fine for men but something sexier should be implemented for women, that it seems to beg to the assumed subservience of women as sex objects to men — not really that much a change from the LDS status quo.”

    As the first one to mention the idea of women’s undies, let me just say to this comment: oh, please. It was meant in fun, and did not constitute my attempt to reinforce any sort of patriarchical or sexist ideas onto my spouse. My wife is an attractive woman. I enjoy seeing more, rather than less, of her. Reading anything more into my comment, or the similar comments of others, is straining.

  25. Bill (15) does have a point that individuals always have choice for how much to conform. However, I am not persuaded that it is the best general strategy because such individual faith liberty is not generally upheld as a valid “walk” of Mormon faith practice.

    On the other hand, nuancing or limiting conformity is natural to the maturation of an individual’s “Stage of Faith.” Could the LDS church be doing better to help individual’s mature this way? Is it even possible for a church institution to help such an individual take this journey?

    For example, I have some LDS friends that are evaluating how much orthodoxy and conformity they are still willing to go along with. I told them that I respect their individual choice in what they are considering. But they still want to raise their kids as LDS and want them to get the best out of church, without seeing what their parents choose to follow or not as a mixed message.

    I emphasized that I don’t think the issues of heterodoxy or non-conformity they are considering really makes them right by God or not. But they do make them right or not by way of the mainstream LDS church community. Therefore there is a price to individual heterodoxy. And depending how much their relationship with God will be productively growing (or not) is tied (or not) by how enmeshed they are in the mainstream LDS community, then, ironically, their conformity could make them right or not right by God. Therefore I suggested they should be thoughtful about altering their conformity.

    If some issues (tithing, garments, meeting attendance, whatever) of LDS orthodoxy cease to be “transferables” to new generations or cultures, then the Church needs to be more proactive in externally changing the expectations of the community. But if the past is a predictor, they will, even if they’re a little slow and inconsistent about it.

    Unfortunately individual choice toward limited conformity usually drives such LDS persons to grow out of touch and belonging with their community. Again, I think it is because this growth into a “new stage of faith” is not upheld as one of the valid “narratives” of an LDS person’s faith walk. The risk, like I think Ray (27) hinted at, then becomes that there is no (or little) safe church community structure by which to help such changing members hold on to what’s most important while they dispatch what isn’t meaningful anymore.

  26. I have to add a large AMEN to John – #18
    I would also ditto the comment on having deacons cease fast offering collections…..except I’ve already accomplished that in slippery, passive-aggressive type ways.

    Okay, I’ll elaborate on FO collections. Every once in a while we’re sort of forced to get it going. While I make my opinion clear, we marshal the little white shirts and it lasts two months, tops, because we just don’t follow up on it. A particularly dutiful deacon’s quorum prs. with perhaps an overly involved mother could mess up the whole system though….

  27. And the thing I would NEVER want to change…is how my ward feels like my family, idiots and pharisees included. We really do a good job of taking care of each other, which fits much more into the “core” that we’re not supposed to be tweakinig here, right?

  28. I can’t see the solution to the garment issue,which incidentally applies to both men and women.Most here I’ll warrent are not manual workers,and how anyone manages who is both a heavy manual worker and does that work in a tropical climate I just can’t imagine-I gather in some climates all clothing rots anyhow-I’d really rather this was not happening against my skin.It makes me wonder how the gospel can go throughout the earth.Of course there are particular issues for women-feeding and bleeding would sum it up.I’ve often wondered about this and would be interested in others experience or insight.Seems to me that gatments are essential to covenant making so quo vadis?

  29. Ray (29):
    Based on anecdotal experience, my past in LDS publishing, and LDS friends I know who host parties to sell intimate wear and novelties as a side business, I think there is a lot of individual discomfort and shame to question (and answer) what is really okay or not between an LDS husband and wife. I’m glad this doesn’t seem to apply to you.

    ###

    It was an experience in exhilaration, freedom, sexiness, guilt and superstition when my wife and I took off our garments for good and went shopping for new underwear. I’m not alone in that kind of experience based on other fo-mos I’ve met, but it is possible our experience is still a minority experience. When one’s identity and relationship with God has been described as resting on the kind of underwear one wears, I wonder how can it not be a profound experience to come to disagree with that? Yet now it seems funny to me that changing underwear wasn’t a more mundane experience.

    However, I was trying to segue a bigger point of conformity. It is a less common LDS member who feels unabashedly free to wear a dark colored shirt instead of a white one, to wear denim, to not wear a tie, or for women to wear trousers or, in some places, even sandals. Shorts almost seem beyond the pale in comfort and casualness. I know that conservative worship wear is not completely an LDS thing. But with the garment issue I think it’s fair to notch the holiness standard behind the dress conformity up a level. The freedom to wear what’s comfortable and be accepted for it at church is something many young to middle-aged LDS seem to be craving, underneath and on the outside. Therefore it can be a big point of relief, assertion and self-identity, for example, for a woman to say she is never going to wear hose to church again — even if we allow it really may not be that big of an issue within LDS theology. It can feel like a big issue.

  30. jjackson (34): Well said. That’s one thing we admire. Our congregation doesn’t feel like family in the same way our LDS wards did.

  31. Where to begin with this question? I could write dozens of bullet-points, but I guess I’ll say “amen” to the gent above who wished Church leaders would solicit and actually implement feedback from the flock. That’s the biggest impediment to change: the lack of feedback from members, which feedback is discouraged because of the doctrinal myth that Church leaders somehow know what’s best for everyone better than everyone knows for him/herself. A little recognition and valuation for the feelings, viewpoints, feedback, etc. of the flock by Church leaders would go a long way toward making the Church a place where more people feel they are genuinely receiving spiritual nourishment.

  32. Fwiw, I would LOVE to have the garment seen or understood to be like a “robe of the Priesthood” or something similar instead of “underwear”. I also have no problem with the idea that garments could be worn over “underwear” but beneath “outwear” – not always next to the skin. I just REALLY loath the idea that garments are “underwear” in the classic sense. They can cover one’s nakedness just fine even if there is something else under them.

  33. “Once we start doing the most important things more actively, at that point I would be open to eliminating some of the less important things.”

    Ray,

    To me, this seems like putting the cart before the horse. It is an effective management principle to realize that often it is the clutter of unimportant things that grow up like weeds which prevent an organization from realizing its most important goals. Effective leaders then identify the less important tasks and simplify the program.

  34. jjackson – I agree with this. I love the instant feeling of family you get in LDS wards.

    The garment issue is tough. I do feel it’s a privelege to wear them, and I’m not a proponent of dressing immodestly. But there is just too much of the body covered by multiple layers for it to not be intrusive throughout the day (riding up, bunching, untucking and retucking, a gust of wind blowing your skirt up, having a waist-band above your belly button, etc.) While they have gotten better over time, that’s mostly because there was to go but up.

    As for wearing hose, I gave those up years ago. There’s no actual requirement, and they are just ridiculous. I’ve actually never heard that requested at church. It was on the pack list for the MTC, but in my mission the climate was much too tropical and no locals wore them.

  35. John, I understand what you are saying, but I just can’t accept many of the suggestions people have made unless they are willing to do other, “more important” things instead. This will be long, so I will apologize up front, but . . .

    1) I would have no problem instituting a phone-tree VT/HT program for many members, my family included, if it would free up active members to visit specific families in person – or if people already were taking care of each other. My problem with doing so is that, in general, many who really need to be HT/VT aren’t being visited anyway, and taking away the other visits from most members who aren’t visiting anyone anyway won’t inspire most of them to visit the one or two that are then assigned as being truly needy. That statement comes from years of experience in multiple wards in multiple states. Those who understand and are converted to the general principle will follow the more streamlined application; those who don’t and aren’t won’t – and the same people will be ignored as are being ignored now.

    2) I would love to have missionaries be more focused on service, but that can’t happen if the members aren’t reaching out and actively inviting others to attend church with them – “finding” so the full-time missionaries don’t have to spend time doing so. Service alone won’t convert to the Gospel we preach; it’s peculiar enough that there has to be a connection to the uniqueness in order to prompt conversion. Also, there are thousands of service mission opportunities already – and would be many more if more retired couples were willing to serve them and had set aside money for years to do so. Finally, the structure to provide public service opportunities for the local units as groups is in place already – it just doesn’t get done in many wards and stakes. The number one reason is NOT over-activity in church, but rather over-activity in life outside of church. Over-activity in church is an issue; I understand that; it isn’t, however, the primary issue to lack of community service.

    3) The 3-hour block is vilified by many, but it often is that same group who blasts the Church for not educating its members enough on historical and doctrinal issues. So, on one hand, the Church needs to do much more to explain and teach difficult doctrine, but, on the other hand, the Church needs to reduce the amount of time members spend in meetings being taught history and doctrine. Can you see why I end up scratching my head in frustration at times?

    I would rather tackle the instruction during those three hours and make it as good as it can be first, then evaluate if the actual amount of time can be reduced. Does anyone know what the Brethren have identified as the greatest “failure” of the three hour block? It is that the block was consolidated to allow families to spend more time on the Sabbath and throughout the week together as a family – but most members haven’t used it to accomplish that objective. Rather, they have maintained their previous practices on Sunday and just added other activities during the week to replace the church meetings they used to attend.

    Almost everything suggested above I could answer in the same basic way: How can you tell if something should be eliminated unless you’ve run it the way it was intended to be run? If you are going to eliminate something, what would you emphasize in its place? The main thing I would change is an individual recognition among the membership of what is good, what is better and what is best. If everyone took that responsibility seriously and only focused on the “best” things, much of the “good” simply would die away. Until the members take that responsibility on their own, however, I don’t want the Church to eliminate things on a widespread level and “limit my choices” about what I can do.

    Can you imagine how members (conservative and liberal members both) would react if the Church eliminated a whole lot of things and said the following? “These few things are the most critical. Do only them.” Ironically, it would be the liberal members who probably would complain the loudest, since they would see it as one more piece of evidence that “The Church” was trying to control their lives and limit their agency. So I say, don’t ask the Church to change; change yourself and live whatever you feel is best. Pick and choose which meetings to attend, how much to pay in Fast Offerings, when and how to respectfully wear the garment, how often or whether to attend the temple, how to serve others in the community and/or world, etc.

    I’m trying hard to change myself, regardless of how the Church changes. Ultimately, I take responsibility for how I construct my own life by what I prioritize, and getting others to do the same (no matter what the individual outcome) would be the one thing I would “change about the Church”.

  36. hawkgrrrl-“as for wearing hose, I gave those up years ago…they are on the pack list for the MTC.”

    My friend just returned home from being the mission president in India. She speaks with admiration of the local sister missionaries who had to “learn” to wear closed toed shoes and nylons even though they had worn sandals their entire life and it caused them great pain. She talks of the sacrifice of wearing hose in the 100+ degree weather. Me, I bite my tongue!

  37. Allie,

    The missionaries were over Sunday afternoon and on their way out asked if we could pray. My DH and I said ‘sure’ and they immediately looked to my husband and asked him who he would like to pray. Mind you, my DH is so totally not religious but was born/raised Catholic and thinks us Mormons are sweet and quirky but pretty nuts. I asked the missionary why they would ask my husband when he wasn’t Mormon or religious and they said “he’s still the leader of the home.” Huh?? I said “really, why?” Answer: “because he’s the patriarch.” Grrrr… I’m more religious, I’m the spiritual leader of our home, I’m the Mormon who prays, and I earn what he earns. Yet… he’s the ‘leader’ of the home??? Huh????

  38. Just for Quix,

    I agree that it was INCREDIBLY liberating to set my garments aside and go back to my thong panties and matching bras. It felt… well, exhilerating is the only word I can think of… to wear something that felt “normal” and natural underneath my clothes. I used to wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, take them off and sleep naked, yet feel so guilty about it. I used to spend inordinate amount of time tucking pulling and staring at the garment lines under my clothes. Then to go to something that made me feel comfy all day was just incredible. Honestly, wearing garments made me more resentful of the church than ever. It helped destroy my testimony of the church. Taking them off in no way diminished my relationship with God. I wish I had loved garments and made my testimony stronger but after over a year of really truly trying, it was just very negative for me. I’m still working on finding where I fit in the church but I know there’s a place somewhere in it for me on some level. I just try to be a good person, go to church, pray and just take it all a day at a time, one experience at a time. Where I ultimately end up, who knows?

  39. Ray-as for biting my tongue. I am finally commenting on the bloggernacle after a very long time of lurking around. Hopefully, in the future when I hear of things that cause pain or are “revolting” (#49) I will have the courage to speak up.

  40. Replace meetings/social events with real service projects.

    It would be nice if I didn’t have to get all my service-related project info from other churches in the neighborhood. My ward/stake doesn’t seem very interested in feeding the poor/visiting the sick/etc.

  41. Tesseract,

    You are right. It seems we do a decent job of taking care of each other and spending a lot of time in meetings and church activities and not enough time doing really big service projects. There are humanitarian aid missions, which are fantastic, but the general outreach within the ward tends to falter considering how much time we spend doing church-related activities.

  42. Hestia, welcome!

    Ray, I think you make a decent point about making the most of the programs, but I think you’re also just being a little grumpy today. You ask: “How can you tell if something should be eliminated unless you’ve run it the way it was intended to be run?” I would add that when a program doesn’t run well, you can blame the people involved or you can tweak the program. Success = idea’s merit x buy-in. Buy in is enhanced by ease of implementation and how clearly one understands the benefits among other things. Great ideas fail when they fail to catch on. Therefore, were they great ideas? Take the united order. Is it a great idea if it’s totally unworkable? As a church, we tend to blame the people, a time-honored tradition dating back to JS. As a pragmatist, I’m not sure that’s always the best approach.

    But I’m complying with a smile on my face.

  43. My wish would be to completely abandon proselyting and replace it with service. Encourage all young men and women to service “missions”, but missions would be more like the peace corps. In church we’d still talk about “proclaiming the gospel” as a core mission of the church, but we’d be proclaiming the gospel of love, equality, and liberation through our actions rather than our words.

    I would bet my life that as a result HUGE percentages of Mormons would be deeply happier than they are now, and baptismal rates would be through the roof. “He who loses his life shall find it”

  44. I agree, Hawk, that if a program doesn’t run well we should tweak it – or get rid of it altogether. I just see too many half-baked implementations that end up ringing calls to scrap something that I have seen work tremendously in other places where it’s been implemented as intended.

    It probably is that time of the month for me.

  45. Jokes aside, it is obvious here that the garments are now more of a difficulty than help. And I know of men in my ward who work in tough laboring jobs who simply take them off when days reach the 90’s, which here is almost all of Spring through to Autumn. And when the nights here go over 100 I respectfully remove then and leave them on a chair or bedrest to be able to sleep and not wake up with red marks around my waist or rashes in inner legs. After 30 odd years of using them I’ve know its the garments that cause this. Maybe it doesn’t happen in the the cold of salt lake city but in hotter areas they can be a problem.

    Correct me if I’m wrong here but weren’t the garments supposed to be sacred and secret in that we didn’t show them to non-members? Nor were we to speak about them and the marks and why etc to non-endowed? I remember people who had a special garment cloths-line indoors so that neighbors wouldn’t see them but today any idiot with a PC can not only see them worn online but find out the why and what every mark means plus hear the entire ceremony. Oh, but off course the brethren probably don’t know that this is available online..?

    Anyway, if I every become church president (never) this is one thing I’d change during the first week -no more garments waring outside the Temple, just replace them with some dog tag or other jewelery of ones choice and stop this telling the world who’s a mormon or who’s not with that garment smile and garment lines.

  46. Can we get rid of Nursery but keep snack-time? Probably no need to worry about the snacks though – I’m starting to think I’ll never be released.

  47. The garments themselves are probably less often an issue than the way we understand them. This gets to one of my (very few) wishes. Like the rest of them, I think it’s a cultural thing.

    I wish we’d talk more outside the temple about the symbolism inside it (except, of course, the things we covenant not to disclose). And I’m going to start now. Wouldn’t it be great if most people understood the garment to represent the body of Christ protecting you from the demands of justice and thorns of a fallen world? This would probably encourage more members to wear it, as it would be seen as a symbol of freedom from sin rather than just a reminder of the uncomfortable demands of difficult covenants. (I’m aware that it serves as a less negative version of the latter as well.) I think we’d also move toward wearing them more comfortably without all the mystically untouchable baggage that often characterizes our ideas about them.

    That’s just a single example of problems arising from our reluctance to discuss that bother many Saints and drive some away. There are more.

  48. #61 “Wouldn’t it be great if most people understood the garment to represent the body of Christ protecting you from the demands of justice and thorns of a fallen world?”

    that’s a good way to put it. I was always told that they were a ‘protection from the sins of this world’ which I guess is the same thing, but wouldn’t a dog tag do the same and be enough for God to know who’s who and for us to remember? Just like a wedding ring makes us remember that we are married? I’m just tired of hearing this ‘magic underwear’ smear and having to use them in unpractical situations like when I go camping -and seeing my wife in them before bed. Total turn off…

  49. right trousers -extremely useful reminder.Nevertheless my problems remain as do those of the developing world.I am committed to my covenants but have struggled largely valiantly with garment wearing for 30 years,and realise I am not alone. Also,I really feel as a woman that they have limited my sexual expression.Maybe they were meant to do that-my landlady used to refer to them as ‘passion killers’She had been a burlesque dancer before converting.Perhaps they were always meant to make our sexual expression very deliberate and pre meditated.Still leaves me sad.I guess i should be more focussed on the things of eternity.

  50. wayfarer – “I guess i should be more focussed on the things of eternity.” We’re Mormons, so I was kind of hoping sex was part of eternity. 🙂

  51. I had a very busy day yesterday, but I have been keeping up on the comments. It seems that garments and meeting length have been leading the way, with many other things getting a random vote or two. It has been interesting to me to read the comments and satisfy my curiosity on this. Thanks and keep on commenting!

  52. James (#8)
    > HT and VT on Skype

    My ward is only 1 mile by 2 miles (pretty small, so not much driving involved) and my HT Skyped me for his July visit. To be fair, it was his 15-year old son’s idea and we sometimes have trouble getting our schedules in sync.

    More than anything, I like being able to say, “I got home taught on Skype.”

    As to the original question, my vote is that everyone gets a free pass on ignoring the thing that bothers them the most. Oh, that sounds like free agency. So, go ahead. If you don’t want to wear garments, don’t wear them. If you don’t want to pay tithing, don’t pay. If you don’t want to HT, don’t do it. (Well, most people are already picking that one, so I guess that’s the answer, isn’t it?)

  53. I basically lean towards changing the WoW. I mean, I absolutely love various teas and coffees, and it’s sometimes hard for me to turn them down. I also bring up the concept of wine as a “fine dining” supplement. Of course, there is always a problem with human beings and moderation, so, then again, I probably WOULDN’T change the WoW. It’s really tricky to want to “change” something when you know that it has logical and spiritual basis.

  54. Pingback: My Nacle Notebook 2008: Interesting Comments | Zelophehad’s Daughters

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